The following submission was made as an entry to win a OC1 from an amazingly generous donor, who wanted to see the canoe truly enjoyed, rather than turn a profit. Entrants were asked to submit an essay answering the following:
- Part 1: “Describe how paddling has changed your life.”
- Part 2: “How do you plan to use this canoe, and perhaps someday pass it along?”
Jared Rivor, California
An OC for the Generations
My name is Jared Rivor, I’m a coach, paddler, and a student at UCR. I paddle for our school’s Dragon Boat team, Riverside Surging Dragons. My story of paddling begins back two years ago, when I arrived at UCR in my Freshman year. I was 300 miles away from home and lost in a new world with so many new people. Back at home, Millbrae (just outside of SF), I went through elementary school, middle school, and high school with the same people, for the first time in my life, I was in an environment where I knew no one. I realized very quickly that I was unfamiliar with making friends from scratch, before I would always be able to say “hey, you know so and so”, but now these strangers didn’t even know of me and I didn’t even know of them. It was terrifying. I spent much of my first couple of weeks in college calling back home to friends and one of them was telling me how she was going to join the Dragon Boat team at their school. While the phone call was brief, the idea of joining my school’s team was embedded in my head. I decided that I would message the team’s public page asking if they had space left. To my surprise, despite their recruitment finishing a week prior, they said I could join if I did a lot of extra practices and I agreed.
My life quickly changed, I started to spend more hours out of my room training, paddling and getting acquainted with a new community called “RSD”. After four brief weeks, we packed our things and headed up to San Francisco for our first race at College Cup. At this point, my feelings towards paddling were mixed, I enjoyed paddling, but the grueling practices early Saturday and Sunday morning had been taking so much out of me, I began wondering, “What is this all for?”. Either way, it was race day, I had to put my game face on and I raced. I raced my heart out, it was intense, thrilling, and most importantly fun. In the past, I did Cross Country, and while that was with a team, its a really independent sport. In Dragon Boat, its a team effort, we lose as a team and win as a team, which made the losses bearable, and the wins all the more incredible. We actually never won anything at that race, but my heart was set, I was going to stay for just a bit longer.
And I guess I’ve been saying that since. I stopped dreading the practices, I greeted those early mornings as an old friend, and I dedicated much of my free time improving myself on behalf of my teammates, now turned close friends I could always reside with in college. Little did I know, my love for the sport pushed me further than I imagined and now, over a year later I coach our team. Paddling wasn’t just a new passion, but in it, I found a place to be, a place where I belonged, and a place where maybe just maybe, I could call home.
Since becoming a coach, I’ve been trying to find ways for our team to grow. For the last three years, Riverside Surging Dragons have been on an upswing, and as a coach I find myself carrying that torch and I’ve desperately been trying to continue it. This year, our captain had two OCs which he gladly shared with the team. He and I worked closely to tune our stroke towards and OC style and we best polished our paddlers individually on those OCs But aside from improvement, so many of my teammates expressed their love for the OC practices despite them being even earlier than our normal practices. Every weekend the sign-ups would be posted and they would fill up within the hour. Nearly 5-10 people every weekend would be eager to get up at 7 A.M just to paddle at the beach for an hour before practice.
The sign-ups were across a five-week time span during our prep for our biggest race of the year, Tempe Dragon Boat Festival. These spots were coveted and hard to land, you’d have to be constantly checking your phone for our captain to announce for sign-ups were open. I could never attend since I always stayed behind to help drive the rest of the team to practice;
however, I always could see the smiles through the exhaustion in the morning when I arrived at the beach.
I knew that the team loved the OCs and their performances on the water noticeably improved. But the OCs, were a short time stint, as the Captain was a senior and with his graduation, they were on the way out too. When I saw the chance to win an OC through this contest, I didn’t even hesitate I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Were I to win the contest, I would give it right to the team, so we can always have an OC to practice with. This OC is more than just me, it's for my current teammates, my future teammates, my family at RSD. I want us to have it as an amazing paddling resource for us to grow and love the sport all the more. I think with an OC available to our team, we can further
close the gap between us and the upper echelon of college teams which all have consistent access to OCs. An OC is something everyone will appreciate, passed down from generation to generation of paddlers within our team.